BMW car-sharing reaches 13,000 in Seattle, names new CEO

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May 11, 2016

Rachel Lerman, Originally published May 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

Former Inrix and RealNetworks executive Steve Banfield will serve as the CEO of ReachNow.

BMW’s premium car-sharing service is catching on fast in Seattle.

More than 13,000 people have registered for the ReachNow program since it launched in the city during the second week of April, BMW said Monday. The company said it plans to bring in 150 more Mini Coopers to add to the 370 Mini Coopers, BMW 3 series and i3 electric vehicles already driving across the city.

BMW’s main competitor in Seattle, Car2Go, said Monday its Smart car-sharing service has more than 77,000 members. Car2Go launched in the city more than three years ago.

BMW also announced a leadership team to oversee ReachNow at its North American headquarters in Seattle, which plans to employ 40 people in its Belltown office by the end of the year.  Technology veteran Steve Banfield will join as CEO of ReachNow, fresh off his stint as chief marketing officer of Kirkland traffic-data company Inrix. Banfield has been active in the region’s tech scene for years and has served as a manager at Microsoft and an executive of RealNetworks.  “The chance to literally build a startup located in the heart of Seattle backed by BMW, backed by BMW cars, and at the same time focus on the next generation of smart city urban mobility … was too big of an opportunity to pass up,” Banfield said Monday.

Jean-Francois Ganot, previously a manager at BMW Group, has been named ReachNow’s chief financial officer. Sandra Phillips will serve as chief customer officer. The service has been growing even faster than expected in Seattle, Banfield said. Members in Seattle have driven more than 99,000 miles so far, BMW said Monday. The service will soon expand beyond central Seattle, though the company did not disclose details.

ReachNow will likely expand to West Seattle and Magnolia next, and is working on expanding to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The company also said it has plans to expand to other Seattle neighborhoods, including parts of South Seattle such as Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill, but did not offer details on a timeline.  ReachNow also will begin to target other U.S. cities this year. Banfield did not say which city will be next but said it will be locations where car-sharing has already proved appealing.

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About The Author - Jeremy Smithson

Started Puget Sound Solar in 2001 with 30 years of construction contracting experience, and a desire to turn Seattle on to solar energy. Achieving NABCEP certification in 2004, Jeremy believes that our customers often follow a path similar to the one he took, starting out with solar daydreaming, then progressing to education on the subject, and eventually leading to action. In addition to leading the company he also does some teaching and speaking engagements about various aspects of solar energy, and experiments relentlessly with various solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle projects.

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